Until Engelman's second touchdown, West LA had led for most of the game even though Golden West's offense had held the ball for most of the afternoon. And even after Engelman's first touchdown gave GWC a 23-22 lead, West LA re-took the lead moments later when Joey Rucks intercepted Crabtree's pass on the 2-point conversion attempt and returned it all the way to give the Oilers two points and a 24-23 lead.
But those would be West LA's only points of the second half, partly because of Golden West's strong defense but even more because West LA had the ball for less than 8 minutes in the second half. Golden West, powered by its offensive line of five 300-pounders, held the ball for more than twice as long as the Oilers on the day.
Things began well enough for West LA when on the opening kickoff Daray Davis' short kick fell to the ground about 30 yards downfield. A pile of players from both teams formed around the ball, and when things were sorted out West LA had possession at the GWC 36. Six plays later, Corey Hudson capped a short drive with a 1-yard scoring run to put West LA ahead, 7-0, less than three minutes into the game.
Golden West responded with a drive that reached the Oilers' 7-yard-line, but then it ended abruptly when a Crabtree pass bounced off a receiver's fingertips and into the hands of West LA's Trevin Richardson. But the Rustler defense soon forced a punt, giving the ball back to the GWC offense at the Oiler 45. Once again Golden West drove inside the 10, but the drive stalled when WLAC's Vaimoe Tauaese sacked Crabtree on third and goal. On came Jeff Brescini, who kicked a 33-yd field goal to cut the margin to 7-3.
When West LA got the ball again, the GWC defense asserted itself, sacking Oiler QB Donovan Dooley on third down to force a fourth and 21. And on fourth down, punter Lorenzo Bursey had trouble fielding a low snap. After bobbling the ball, Bursey picked it up and tried to run for the first down, but was stopped well short at the 30.
The GWC offense managed just 7 yds on the next three plays, setting up a 4th and 3 at the 23. Then came some razzle-dazzle as GWC's Steven Yaden, who lined up in the backfield, took the pitch towards the right. But instead of running, he stopped and lofted a perfect pass to WR Dana Franklin, who was well behind the unsuspecting West LA defense. Franklin took it the distance, and the 23-yd play put Golden West ahead, 10-7.
Golden West's lead was short-lived as West LA scored on its next possession to go ahead, 13-10. A 9-play, 69-yd drive was highlighted by a 30-yd pass from Dooley to Bursey that got the ball to the Rustler 7. Moments later, Dooley ran the ball in himself on a keeper around the left side, diving into the corner of the end zone. The extra point was blocked by GWC's Zeke Rodriguez, but West LA once again had the lead. And the Oilers increased their lead on their next possession when Solomon Jones got behind the Rustler defense and caught a 71-yd pass in stride. That TD pushed the lead to 19-10, which is where it stayed after West LA failed on a 2-point conversion try.
Golden West rebounded with a touchdown on their next drive to close the gap to 19-17. A 44-yd pass from Crabtree to Franklin got the ball to the 17, and on the next play Crabtree threw a scoring pass to Mike Alba for the touchdown. And it looked like GWC might draw even closer after the Rustler defense forced a punt, giving the offense one last opportunity with 1:39 left in the first half. But then Engelman fumbled and West LA's Tauaese recovered at the 16. And so it was West LA that added points as Daray Davis nailed a 31-yd field goal just before halftime. The high-scoring first half ended with West LA in front, 22-17.
In the second half, Golden West's offensive line took control of the game, and the GWC defense refused to allow West LA's offense to stay on the field, let alone score any points. OL Starters Dustin Henel, Na Tukia, Robert Tialino, Jose Cardoza and Joe Hadley, each of whom weighs at least 300 pounds, enabled the Rustlers to maintain possession for over 22 minutes in the second half. And the defense not only shut out the WLAC offense, but made three interceptions, including a pivotal pick by Brent Cogburn that returned the Oiler defense to the field just one play after a dramatic goal line stand at the end of a 6-minute drive.
West LA's defense was stubborn, stopping the Rustlers on that dramatic goal line stand that featured five plays from the Oiler 1 or 2 yard line and allowed West LA to maintain a 5-point lead. And even after allowing Engelman's first TD, Oiler DB Rucks returned the conversion to give West LA its last lead at 24-23. And once more, when Golden West already had the lead and threatened to put the game out of reach, the Oiler defense stood strong and turned away a 5-1/2 minute drive that at one point reached the 2-yard-line.
But in the end, Golden West's line was too strong. After Cogburn's interception, GWC went on a 7-play, 61-yd drive that was highlighted by a spectacular 34-yd catch by Yaden along the left sideline. Yaden snatched the ball away from a defender, and on the next play Engelman scored to give GWC their brief 23-22 lead. The Rustlers decided to go for the 2-point conversion, which resulted in Rucks' runback to give West LA the lead, but it wasn't long before GWC scored again, this time taking the lead for good. A WLAC punt gave the Rustlers the ball at the 50, and a personal foul penalty on the play moved it to the Oiler 35. An 11-yd pass from Crabtree to TE Brandyn McCall followed by a 14-yd run by Kevin Thompson set the stage for Engelman's 10-yd TD catch that proved to be the winning score.
After West LA stopped a pair of GWC drives that threatened to put the game away, the Oiler offense figured to have one last chance to tie the game. But then Yaden showed his value as a punter, kicking a pooch punt out of bounds at the WLAC 5-yard line with 1:34 to play. The Oilers got the ball out to the 35 before time ran out, ending the game and giving Golden West the victory.
For Golden West, QB Todd Crabtree had a strong game, completing 19 of 29 passes for 220 yds and 2 TDs. Backup RB Mike Alba had 69 yds rushing, second-highest in the game behind Engelman, and TE Brandyn McCall had 5 catches for 59 yds. And Steven Yaden had a superb all-around game: he had 5 catches for 59 yds, he threw GWC's first TD pass and his pooch punt in the final minutes pinned West LA deep in its own end for its final drive. And of course the offensive line was dominant.
For West LA, QB Donovan Dooley completed 11 of 36 passes for 194 yds and a TD, but also had 3 interceptions. WR Solomon Jones had 3 catches for 96 yds including the 71-yd TD play. Corey Hudson led Oiler rushers with 37 yds on 3 carries. Lorenzo Bursey showed his versatility with 4 catches for 75 yds, 2 rushes for 12 yds, 4 kickoff returns and 2 punt returns for a total of 52 yds, and he also handled the team's punting duties (averaging 36.8 yds on 4 kicks). DE Tauaese was a force on defense all afternoon, registering the Oilers' only sack, recovering a fumble and generally disrupting things for the Golden West offense.
W – Corey 1 yd run (Davis kick) 12:03 -- 0-7
G – FG Brescini 33 yds 14:54 -- 3-7
G – Frankline 23 yd pass from Yaden (Brescini kick) 12:34 -- 10-7
W – Dooley 7 yd run (kick blocked) 8:38 -- 10-13
W – Jones 71 yd pass from Dooley (run failed) 4:36 -- 10-19
G – Alba 17 yd pass from Crabtree (Brescini kick) 2:13 -- 17-19
W – FG Davis 31 yds 0:39 -- 17-22
G – Engelman 2 yd run (pass failed) 0:24 -- 23-22
W – Rucks return of int on conversion attempt 0:24 -- 23-24
G – Engelman 10 yd pass from Crabtree (Yaden pass from Crabtree) 14:18 -- 31-24
Rushing: W: 2-Hudson 11-37, 5-Dooley 10-13, 24-Bursey 2-12 G: 32-Engelman 23-100, 25-Alba 17-69, 2-K.Thompson 4-19, 12-Crabtree 3-(-19)
Passing: W: 5-Dooley 11-36-3-194, 1 TD G: 12-Crabtree 19-29-1-220, 2 TDs; 28-Yaden 1-1-0-23, 1 TD
Receiving: W: 24-Bursey 4-75, 1-Jones 3-96, 2-Hudson 2-1, 19-Jimenez 1-13, 7-Beavers 1-9 G: 28-Yaden 5-59, 87-McCall 5-53, 5-Franklin 4-79, 32-Engelman 2-17, 8-Garcia 2-16, 25-Alba 1-17, 80-Gil 1-2
Int-Ret Yds: W: 3-Richardson 1-0 G: 3-B.Thomson 1-3, 16-Cogburn 1-4, 47-Cahill 1-9
Fum Rec: W: 12-Tauaese G: none
Sacks: W: 12-Tauaese G: 19-Angone, 52-Molido, 58-Brewster ½, 90-I.Tukla ½
Punters: W: 24-Bursey 4-36.8 avg G: 28-Yaden 3-32.3 avg
Kick Ret: W: 24-Bursey 4-43, 26-Rucks 1-13 G: 32-Engelman 3-48
Punt Ret: W: 24-Bursey 2-9 G: none
Notes: Season Opener for both teams. The game was played here as renovations continue at West LA. 42-Rodriguez blocked the XPA. Yaden's TD pass was on a HB option on 4th and 3. GWC O-Line: 55-Hensel, 61-N.Tukla, 68-Tialino, 73-Cardoza, 74-Hadley – all 300+ lbs. West LA's FG followed the fumble recovery by Tauaese, who was a force on defense all day. Yaden's final punt rolled out at the 5, pinning WLA deep for their last try to tie the score. :54 ran off the clock after WLAC's 1st TD; hence the shortage for time of possession.
|Team Statistics:||West LA||Golden West|
|First Downs||11 (7 pass; 3 run; 1 pen)||25 (9 pass; 16 run)|
|Rushes – Yards||23-62||47-169|
|Comp - Att – Int||11-36-3||20-30-1|
|Sacks – Yards||1-6||3-18|
|Fumbles – Lost||2-0||3-1|
|Penalties – Yards||8-55||9-75|
|Time of Possession||19:29||39:37|